Hearings to air coal dust fears

IPSWICH'S concerns about the harmful health effects of coal dust will be put to a Senate Inquiry into air pollution from coal dust particles, starting today.

The inquiry will hear the concerns of environmental groups, who have protested against trains carrying coal on the Ipswich train line, and representatives from the mining industry.

All sides of the coal dust debate will front the inquiry, with Stop Brisbane Coal Trains, Lock the Gate and the Queensland Resources Council among 12 groups to present their submissions.

The Queensland Greens lobbied for the inquiry after hearing concerns about coal dust from a number of communities in Queensland.

The inquiry begins hearing submissions from mining stakeholders at Parliament House.

Stop Brisbane Coal Trains spokesman John Gordon said its submission focuses on the industry's worst practice of transporting coal.

"The pit to port process from the west Darling Downs is the worst practice scenario," he said.

"The worst process procedure culture is allowed to fester because there are no rules or regulations in that whole process.

"There is no legislation covering any of it whether it's transportation or stock piling.

"We have been calling for an inquiry in Queensland but that's fallen on deaf ears. We welcome the chance for some scrutiny on what's going on here."

Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said the inquiry allowed the QRC to clear up misconceptions about coal dust.

"Hopefully the committee will see the coal industry is very proactive in minimising any concerns around," he said.

"There is very little evidence that there are any issues of health impacts from coal dust.

"We will be telling the committee about the air and dust monitoring program that is operating along the corridor between Oakey and the Port of Brisbane."

Lock the Gate spokesman Drew Hutton said its submission focused on the health issues from coal dust.

"There has been a lot or research done overseas and also in Australia into the impacts," he said.



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